Silence gives answers.
Silence gives answers.
The resting place of the mind is the heart. The only thing the mind hears all day is clanging bells and noise and argument, and all it wants is quietude. The only place the mind will ever find peace is inside the silence of the heart. That’s where you need to go.
~Elizabeth Gilbert; Eat, Pray, Love
I trust the mystery. I trust what comes in silence and what comes in nature where there’s no diversion. I think the lack of stimulation allows us to hear and experience a deeper river that’s constant, still, vibrant, and real. And the process of deep listening with attention and intention catalyzes and mobilizes exactly what’s needed at that time.
I woke this morning with an unexplained sadness wafting through me. I thought perhaps it was just a mood left over from an early-morning dream, but then I remembered that I’ve felt this sadness more than once in the week or so since I returned to Raleigh—since I came home—a life event/change that I’m happy about, that I wanted. I’ve also had many moments of sudden, leaping joy and quiet peace…these made sense. But why sadness?
Then, later today, I came across the Rilke quote below on Facebook:
It seems to me that almost all our sadnesses are moments of tension, which we feel as paralysis because we no longer hear our astonished emotions living. Because we are alone with the unfamiliar presence that has entered us; because everything we trust and are used to is for a moment taken away from us; because we stand in the midst of a transition where we cannot remain standing. That is why the sadness passes: the new presence inside us, the presence that has been added, has entered our heart, has gone into its innermost chamber and is no longer even there, is already in our bloodstream. And we don’t know what it was. We could easily be made to believe that nothing happened, and yet we have changed, as a house that a guest has entered changes. We can’t say who has come, perhaps we will never know, but many signs indicate that the future enters us in this way in order to be transformed in us, long before it happens. And that is why it is so important to be solitary and attentive when one is sad: because the seemingly uneventful and motionless moment when our future steps into us is so much closer to life than that other loud and accidental point of time when it happens to us as if from outside. The quieter we are, the more patient and open we are in our sadnesses, the more deeply and serenely the new presence can enter us, and the more we can make it our own, the more it becomes our fate.
~Rainer Maria Rilke
As I read the quote, I felt the truth of Rilke’s words drop into place in my soul. He describes perfectly the sense of what I’d been feeling. As I considered his words, I realized that this morning’s sadness was not a heavy melancholy, but, as Rilke said, a presence, something to be embraced, absorbed, taken in. And this is where I stop, for to attempt to articulate what I think I now understand on a deep, wordless level would be futile. That the insight is there, however fragile, is enough.
Silent solitude makes true speech possible and personal. If I am not in touch with my own belovedness, then I cannot touch the sacredness of others. If I am estranged from myself, I am likewise a stranger to others.
~Brennan Manning, Abba’s Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging
What a mess we are, I thought. But this is usually where any hope of improvement begins, acknowledging the mess. When I am well, I know not to mess with mess right away; I try to let silence and time work their magic.
~Anne Lamott, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith
pathwriter’s note: A dancer/choreographer friend of mine shared this video on Facebook a few days ago. The following text, written by Justin Fox, introduced the video on the Zen Garage website:
Marina Abramovic and Ulay started an intense love story in the 70s, performing art out of the van they lived in. When they felt the relationship had run its course, they decided to walk the Great Wall of China, each from one end, meeting for one last big hug in the middle and never seeing each other again.
At her 2010 MoMa retrospective Marina performed ‘The Artist Is Present’ as part of the show, where she shared a minute of silence with each stranger who sat in front of her. Ulay arrived without her knowing and this is what happened.
This magnificent refuge is inside you.
Enter. Shatter the darkness that shrouds the doorway…
Be bold. Be humble.
Put away the incense and forget
the incantations they taught you.
Ask no permission from the authorities.
Close your eyes and follow your breath
to the still place that leads to the
invisible path that leads you home.
~St. Theresa of Avila
Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.
~ Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
Only the Hand of God can remove the burdens of your heart.
When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.
~Henri J. M. Nouwen, The Road to Daybreak: A Spiritual Journey
When you sense that your dark night is one of pregnancy and oceanic return, you could react accordingly and be still. Watch and wonder. Take the human embryo as your model. Assume the fetal position, emotionally and intellectually. Be silent. Float in your darkness as if it were the waters of the womb, and give up trying to fight your way out or make sense of it.
~Thomas Moore (author of Care of the Soul)